Barbadoes or Barbodies– and General Benedict Arnold



Photo of the Pamphlet I picked up at Archives Lanark Saturday


So I heard Port Elmsley was named Barbodies from a few people and I thought that was darn strange– but when I read it ina  few places I had to go along with it. Until Saturday– I picked up a pamphlet Pike Falls Storied Past and I can officially say it was called Barbadoes not Barbodies— although I think the latter is a more interesting name LOL.


For such a little place, Port Elmsley has managed to attract its fair share of attention over the past two centuries. Originally part of the more than 13,000-acre land grant awarded in 1803 to *General Benedict Arnold for his defection to the British army during the American Revolution, it came to life in the 1820s and ’30s with construction of *Weatherhead’s sawmill and dam, and the Tay Canal.

Several warehouses also sprout up at this time, catering to the transhipment trade between Perth and Montreal. Originally named Barbadoes, in honour of founder *Samuel Weatherhead’s birthplace, many saw potential over the years in the power generated here by Pike’s Falls. By midto late-century, the village boasted two hotels, three stores, two blacksmith shops, two churches, a cooperage, a post office, a school, a railway station, a town hall, and several mills. However, when Port Elmsley was bypassed by the Second Tay Canal in the 1880s, that proved to be a sign of things to come.– from Pike Falls’ Storied Past–Lanark County Tourism


Perth Courier, May 15, 1947

The History of Port Elmsley

By Mrs. D. Clements, historical conservator of the Port Elmsley Women’s Institute

“Barbodies” is believed to have been the first name of this village.  But in 1843 it was referred to as Pike Falls and was no doubt a military settlement, Perth being the county seat, business was transacted there–A Town Called Barbodies–Port Elmsley 101



Perth Courier, Sept. 25, 1891

Wilson—Died, at his father’s residence on the 7th Concession Drummond on the 12th Sept., Andrew William Wilson, 4th son of Mr. George Wilson, aged 21.

37 years ago Findlay McCormick left the 7th Line Drummond and settled in the County of Perth, Ontario.  He rose into prominence in his locality and was for a time Reeve of the township of Hibbert in that county.  He died on Friday last of cancer at the age of 64 and his remains were brought to this town and interred in the old Presbyterian burying ground beside the almost forgotten bones of his long dead friends there whose resting places are marked by tombstones placed many years ago.  The burial of Mr. McCormick took place on Sunday afternoon last and 6 of his old neighbors acted as pallbearers:  Messrs. John Sinclair, William McGarry, Donald McLaren, D.D. Campbell, Donald McPhail, John Bothwell.  The deceased never married and lived with his sister who survives him.  Mr. A.C. Jones of Stratford, who left Pike Falls 25 years ago and has married a niece of the deceased, brought the body down.

Perth Courier, September 11, 1874.

Armstrong—Died, at Pike Falls, on Thurs., 27th Aug., Mr. Kennedy Armstrong, aged 39 (or 35?) years.

Perth Courier, June 6, 1966

Continuing along the road at the corner the road turns towards the right to Port Elmsley.  A short distance along this road is the site of the old graphite mine on a property known to old timers as the “Grierson” place.  John Grierson, a miner of early days, may have located the deposit of graphite but the mine was opened up and operated by Rinaldo McConnell and later by the Globe Graphite Company.  The ore was drawn by teams of wagons to a mill at Pike Falls where it was processed for shipment.  The mine has been inactive and non productive for many years.

Perth Courier, Nov. 30, 1888

It is but right that a short notice should be made of the death of one of the oldest residents in order that the many friends and former neighbors now at a distance may be made aware of the fact.  Patrick King died at his residence in Elmsley on the 18th (?) day of October after 10 days illness.  Old age may be said to be the cause of his death he having lived to the age of 89 years.  For many years, Mr. King was unable to work but could walk around and converse with his many friends and neighbors who came to see him.  His funeral took place on the 20th Oct.  A large number of friends and neighbors turned out to honor him by following his remains to the R.C. burying ground at Perth.  Mr. King was a life long member of the R.C. Church.  The deceased came to Canada from Ireland in 1832 and arrived in Elmsley by way of Ottawa (then Bytown).  When coming to Perth, he was wont to tell, that when crossing the burying ground bridge he asked a man how far it was to Perth.  “Why” said the man, “you are in Perth now”, Perth then having been not much more than a scattered village.  The first time Mr. King went to Smith’s Falls he passed only one home on the road after he left Pike’s Falls and that was Mrs. McNabb’s.  Mr. King lived to see Elmsley transformed from a wilderness into a well-cleared township and Perth become a fine town and the center of a rich agricultural country.  He was one of the hardy pioneers by which Canada has been transformed from a wilderness into a great and rich province and the many hardships attending pioneer work Mr. King had his full share.  He was a good man, a fine neighbor and had the respect and regard of all who knew him.  He has left three sons, John King, Edward King, and James Kingand two daughters, Margaret and Mary



*Samuel Weatherhead
Birthdate: 1756 (67)
Birthplace: St. Philip, Barbados
Death: Died December 11, 1823 in Augusta Twp, Grenville, Ontario, Canada
Place of Burial: Blue Church, Augusta Twp, Grenville, Ontario, Canada
Immediate Family:
Son of David Weatherhead and Sebella Hunte
Husband of Magdalene Haskins
Father of Margaret Arnold; Alexander Weatherhead; Eleanor Weatherhead; James Weatherhead; John Weatherhead and 2 others
Brother of David Weatherhead; Mary Weatherhead and William Weatherhead

Around 1829, Alexander Weatherhead built a sawmill at what would later be the location of Lock 3, and made plans to throw a dam across the river, raising water levels and bringing power to his mill. Weatherhead was an agent for the Arnold Family, who owned most of the land around what Weatherhead named ‘Barbadoes’ after the British colony where his father had been born (and which would later be called Port Elmsley); his sister was married to Richard Arnold, son of Benedict Arnold. Weatherhead’s mill was, in fact, the first development in the area, and the village began to grow around this site over the next several years. (H.R. Morgan “The First Tay Canal”; pg 3) (Larry Turner “The First Tay Canal in the Rideau Corridor, 1830-1850”; pg. 11)

Not everybody was content with Weatherhead’s plan to dam the Tay, though. William Morris (who had previously tried to set the wheels into motion for development of a canal along the Tay) and his supporters at first sent a formal letter to Weatherhead, stating that they believed that his dam would interfere with navigation on the Tay, and with their plans to develop the river. Morris then wrote to Colonel By, who was supervising the construction of the Rideau Canal. Morris suggested that the dam would interfere with communication down the Tay with the Rideau. By agreed, calling Weatherhead’s dam ‘illegal’, and suggested that the petitioners contact the Lieutenant-Governor. Subsequently, Weatherhead was warned by the Attorney-General that if he were to dam the Tay, he would be liable to prosecution. (H.R. Morgan “The First Tay Canal”; pg. 3) (Larry Turner “The First Tay Canal in the Rideau Corridor, 1830-1850”; pg. 12)–Read the rest here: Click here


Benedict Arnold– click here

A Town Called Barbodies–Port Elmsley 101

What Was Smiths Falls Perth and Port Elmsley like to Joseph and Jane Weekes?

Dragstrip Girl was Playing on The Port Elmsley Screen — Passion in the Back Seat

What Was Playing at the Port Elmsley Drive in 1970?


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News


About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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